love locks are a custom by which lovers sweethearts affix padlocks to a fence or similar public fixture & throw away the key, to symbolise their everlasting love. they are most commonly placed on the railings of bridges.
the custom of love padlocks has become internationally popular, & in serbia can be traced to before world war I, where a schoolmistress from vrnjačka banja, nada, fell in love with a serbian officer, relja. after they got engaged relja went to war in greece where he fell in love with another woman. nada never recovered from the blow, & died as a result of her unfortunate love. as young girls from vrnjačka banja wanted to protect their own loves they started writing the names of their loved ones on padlocks, attached to the railings of the bridge where nada & relja used to meet. it’s now acquired the name “bridge of love”.
love padlocks have also gained a significant presence in italy, starting at the bridge ponte milvio in rome. in england they are attached to various points along the fence on tower bridge, london. in paris, the pont de arts, passerelle léopold-sédar-senghor & pont de l’archevêché bridges. in the USA love padlocks can be seen in guam’s “two lovers’ point”, a viewing deck overlooking the ocean & hundreds are hanging on the brooklyn bridge, in NYC. chicago has also seen a rise in this tradition: the michigan avenue bridge is bound with a lock representing a couple’s transatlantic love.